Britain Endorses Pakistan’s Efforts: Check On Human Smuggling

May 7, 2006: Britain Endorses Pakistan's Efforts: Check On Human Smuggling

Britain endorses Pakistans efforts: Check on human smuggling

By Our Staff Reporter

ISLAMABAD, May 7: The United Kingdom has upgraded Pakistans rating keeping in view its efforts to curb human smuggling, placing it in the list of low risk countries, a senior official in the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) told Dawn on Sunday.

The official said UK improved Pakistans rating in January this year and had conveyed the latest development to the interior ministry.

Terming improvement in Pakistans rating a big achievement, the official said the UK government had taken this decision after a sharp decline in cases of illegal immigration and human trafficking.

He said the UK had placed countries which were hub of human smuggling into three tiers high risk, medium risk and low risk.

The US has already removed Pakistan from its human smuggling watch list and expressed satisfaction over the efforts being made in the country to curb the menace, the official said.

He said last month the US government had also recognised the struggle of Pakistani authorities in the elimination of illegal immigration, human smuggling and trafficking.

The FIA official quoted a latest US report, The US Record- 2005-2006 issued on April 5 as saying: The Anti-Trafficking Unit (ATU) in the FIA became fully functional, resulting in an increase in arrest and prosecution of human traffickers. Cooperative efforts between the Pakistani military, ATU and international organisations prevented an increase in human trafficking following the October 8 earthquake.

The UK government has also pledged to provide information technology and other equipment to Pakistan for the newly- established Anti-Trafficking Unit (FIA), the official said.

He said the British government had approved funding to provide latest equipment to the FIA to control travelling on forged documents. The same equipment would also be handed over to passport department.

Giving data about decline in illegal immigration, human smuggling and trafficking in Pakistan, the official said in 2005 some 3,926 cases of human trafficking were registered against 2,393 filed in 2004.

The FIA, he said, arrested 597 absconders in 2005 and in 2004 the number of arrested absconders was 281.

He said 433 camel jockeys were repatriated from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in 2005 against 176 in 2004. Besides, 95 agents were also apprehended last year.

The official said the cases of illegal immigration had reduced by 26 per cent in the country as last year about 6,000 people were held for trying to travel aboard on forged documents while about 800 agents were also booked in this regard.

He said Pakistan, Iran, Turkey and Afghanistan were working jointly to prevent human smuggling and trafficking.